November 02, 2021
The medium by which we process the world around us varies from person to person. Be it dialogue with a friend, music that resonates, writing it out, or artistic expression. There has to be an outlet to keep the mind feeling balanced. For David Barnes, this outlet is in the ceramics he creates.
First of all, his studio is located on a beautiful acreage of horses and hills, backed by wide open skies and distant mountain landscapes. A little world of its own, nestled away from the bustle of city and town life. You open a door assuming you are visiting an equestrian arena, but instead step into a space that smells of clay and reeks of creativity.
Barnes teaches classes, so in the centre of this generous space are tables for students, adorned with some of their latest creations. Racks of his striated pottery stand drying in one area, tucked away in another corner are the maquettes of his striking sculptures.
His production ware is unique and beautiful on its own. His methods for creating these pieces are a testament to his many years in the act of conceptualizing them.
“In my initial business, I realized if I wanted to make a living doing this, I would have to produce production ware,” Barnes remarked.
“My functional ware is much more about the pot and the quality of the clay than it is about what decoration I put on the piece, and picking the right glaze that goes with the right form.”
Barnes’ beautiful production creations are a compelling glimpse into what he is capable of in the realm of sculpting. He explained that while he can’t seem to leave production ware behind, creating sculptures are where he truly resonates.
“Sometimes things get in the back of your head and they just sit there and fester. And the only way I can get them out is to produce a piece of sculpture.”
“And then once I've produced a piece of sculpture, that's fine, I can move on,” said Barnes.
“I get an idea, or get inspired by something I see on TV, or read about in a book, and I ask a lot of questions as to why things happened as they did,
“There is no immediate answer as to why these things happened. Whether it be the evolution of man, or why somebody committed suicide for some stupid reason that is not necessary for someone to commit suicide.
“But it sits in the back of my head, and I have to get it out and do something about it.”
From this process of inspiration, he creates sculptures that spark conversation. A two sided application, Barnes moves through something with his work. As a result, it inspires others to do the same - without presumption or expectation.
“It's really just to not only make me question it, but to make other people question it as well.
“A good piece of art should engage people in conversation, it should make people ask questions.”
That is exactly what his work does.
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Bluerock Gallery Inc. acknowledges the land in which it is is situated on as the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.